Home Lifestyle Former NCC CEO pays tribute to legend Derek ‘Goerie’ Gordon

Former NCC CEO pays tribute to legend Derek ‘Goerie’ Gordon

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Derek ‘Goerie’ Gordon. Picture: Supplied

FORMER Northern Cape Cricket CEO Eugene Jacobs has paid tribute to his late friend and accomplished sportsman Derek ‘Goerie’ Gordon who passed away peacefully last week in Kimberley.

In his eulogy, Jacobs writes: “One is again reminded of our forgotten heroes of the South African Confederation of Sports (Sacos) era who can and never will be given the honour they deserve. There is no documentation of how many games of cricket and rugby Gordon has played or what was his highest score. Which is very sad indeed.

The late Kimberley born sportsman Derek ‘Goerie’ Gordon. Picture: Supplied

“Derek ‘Goerie’ Gordon grew up at a time that he, like many other sports persons, men and women, had to play their sport on gravel and sand so that his children and grandchildren could benefit from playing on the grass fields in all the areas of town.

“He was a lower order batsman/wicket-keeper, and as a cricketer played with great cricket heroes such as Tommy Gertze, Kenny Gordon, Gordon Spadonie, Mike Francis, Bernie Bennett, Pietie Salo, Terry Salo, Peter Salo and many others.

“He played for Beaconsfield Wanderers for many years. I clearly remember in many games he would come in and hold up the one end as teams were trying to win games.

“I also remember his feisty duels on the field with many opponents. In one such game against Diamond Park XI it was Gordon who was blocking for his life and he, along with Brian Williams, the bowler, had an almighty altercation on the field but after the game Brian would go look for Gordon so that they could share a cold one.

“One would never think just an hour ago they had this fiery altercation on the field. Brian had the greatest respect for Goerie till this day.

“Goerie was a fierce competitor on the field and a gentle giant off it. A wiley wicket-keeper who would now and then try to ‘cheat’ you out, and if he got it right he would wink his eye and smile while the batsman just walked off the field.

“After the game that would be the biggest joke for him that the umpires gave the batsman ‘out’ because of all his tricks.

“Gordon played among a generation of great cricketers who played their cricket on the mine dumps of the Eddie Williams Oval and the stony outfield of the Mosque grounds. But rest assured, poor facilities notwithstanding, the quality of cricket was of the highest order.

Derek ‘Goerie’ Gordon versatile SA sportsman who passed away in June. Picture: Supplied

“The unification of cricket came way too late for Goerie Gordon and his peers. But it was an absolute honour to see him and his wife on the side of the cricket fields where his son, and later his grandsons, were playing, always ready to share a joke or two.

“Goerie Gordon also played rugby for the Thistle Rugby Football Club which is not a strange thing because both the Beaconsfield Wanderers Cricket Club and the Thistle Rugby Club were community- and family-based.

“This is why those clubs thrived in the 1970s and the 80s even though times were tough. Where there were no good facilities and players were offered so much more to play with the white community during the apartheid years, to Gordon and his peers this was never an option – on principle.

“Gordon’s rugby life spanned over two or three generations. He played with and against the best rugby players in the non-racial fraternity. Here one thinks of the Jampies brothers, the Christians brothers, Jim and Des Summers, Aubrey Everson, Chris Ludick, Kenny Gordon, the Barnes Brothers, Eddie Geduld, the great Piet Van Wyk, Frik Van Rooyen, Bernie Bennett and many others.

“As a youngster, going to watch these greats playing the game at the Union Grounds (renamed AR Abass) every Saturday was very special. Later I was privileged to play against some of these legends including Goerie Gordon. He was an absolute Thistles die-hard.

“Some days Thistles would be down by 20 or 30 points but Goerie would still believe Thistles was going to win the game. Both during his playing days and years after, he fondly remembered the cry ‘voete manne voete’ and the saying ‘Once a Thistle always a Thistle’.

“If my memory serves me right, Goerie also played soccer and was involved because of the community.

“There are important lessons to be learnt in the life and times of Goerie Gordon. Under the Group Areas Acts (1950) the cities and towns of South Africa were divided into segregated residential and business areas.

“The Gordon Family and many other families were forced out of Beaconsfield and relocated to Colville, Floors and Homevale. Goerie and his family had to settle in Homevale (Tips).

“Goerie Gordon comes from a family that had a very rich sporting history. So it was not by chance that he played rugby and cricket for such a long time. He was one of the many top sportsmen and sportswomen from rugby, soccer, hockey, cricket, athletics who came from this disadvantaged community of Tips, as it is fondly known.

“When one sits and has a bird’s eye view of this community that produced sports people, leaders, both men and women and I think of the men and women, in say, Education – a book can be written which will bear testimony about the community of Homevale.

“One of the sons of Homevale; Derek “Goerie” Gordon – born on 14 January 1950, was called to his heavenly home on 2 June 2022.

“Goerie you ran the race, good and faithful servant. We raise our caps today to the life of a sportsman. A life well lived and we pray that your soul may rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Eugene Jacobs (Fellow sportsman – retired NCC CEO)

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